Jammu and Ladakh: Victims of the biased system
Prof Hari Om
Jammu & Kashmir is indeed one of the few states in India where those who control and misuse the system overtly and covertly support those who consider the religious and ethnic minorities—Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists—as social groups whose life is not one of social, economic, cultural and political aspirations. It is a system that is tightly controlled by one religious sect and all other communities and social groups are at its mercy.
Actually, it was the Congress and its supreme leader and fake secularist Jawaharlal Nehru who conspired against the people of Jammu & Kashmir in the 1940s and handed down to the well-known anti-minority and ultra-communal Kashmiri leadership, a system under which it would exercise absolute, unbridled and extraordinary legislative, executive and financial powers, sans any accountability and responsibility, and deprive the minorities of their natural rights, including the right to lead a dignified life and have an equal and an effective say in the governance as part and parcel of the state polity.
In fact, Jawaharlal Nehru and his coterie deliberately drove Jammu & Kashmir away from the national mainstream through a divisive and undemocratic Article 370 to pander to communal forces in Kashmir and empower them to rule the state in the manner they wanted. He subverted the cardinal principles of democracy to render the minorities unreal and ineffective for practical purposes. There should be no doubt about it.
The Nehru Government, which had also hatched a conspiracy against the nation at the behest of the then Wazir-e-Azam of Jammu & Kashmir Sheikh Abdullah and the nominated Governor-General of India Lord Mountbatten to enable Pakistan to consolidate its aggression in the so-called Azad Kashmir and strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region, which were legitimately Indian by any yardstick, drove the people of Jammu & Kashmir away from the national mainstream in October 1949, when the Congress-dominated Indian Constituent Assembly adopted Article 306-A (Article 370) to satisfy the sectarian urges of Sheikh Abdullah and his associates, all too well known for their bias against non-Muslim minorities as well as other religious and ethnic minorities, including the Shiite Muslims, the Gujjar and Bakerwal Muslims and the Pathowari-speaking Muslims, also wrongly called “Paharis”.
Ever since then, the Kashmiri ruling elite and its handful of supporters in Jammu province and Ladakh region have been violating ruthlessly the human rights of the religious and ethnic minorities in general and Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist minorities in particular. The ruling elite in the state is backed to the hilt by the “secular” Congress and similar other Left-oriented outfits, which are guided solely by the communal and vested interests of the sect-in-power since October 1947, when the state acceded to Indian Dominion in terms of constitutional law on the subject.
It is important to note that religious and ethnic minorities in the state constitute more than 70 per cent of the state’s population but which, very sadly, constitute the most neglected, persecuted, oppressed, neglected and abandoned lot in the entire country. It would not be wrong to say that the political system under which the state has been governing since 1947 is of one sect, by one sect and for one sect (read Kashmiri-speaking ethnic Sunnis). It may appear ridiculous and unbelievable, but it is a fact that it is this sect that controls the government and leads all or nearly all the “mainstream” and separatist organisations. The “mainstream” organisations that this sect leads include the Congress, the National Conference, the People’s Democratic Party, the Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and so on and the separatist, terrorist and rabidly anti-India and pro-Pakistan organisations which this sect controls include Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s All-Party Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s Tehrik-e-Hurriyat, Yasin Malik’s Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front, Shabir Ahmad Shah’s Jammu & Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party, Syed Salahuddin’s Hizbul Mujahideen, to mention only few. And it is basically the members of this sect who are involved in subversive and anti-India activities which frightens the minorities, violate their human rights with immunity and force them to think in terms of migrating to places outside the Valley.
The conversion of Kashmir, which was hundred per cent Hindu some eight hundred years ago and which became a virtually 100 per cent Muslim region in the early 1990 with the forced migration of the miniscule and unprotected minority community of Kashmiri Hindus and thousands of Sikhs from Kashmir to Jammu and other places in the country needs to be viewed in this context, as also in the context that the system in Jammu & Kashmir is such that excludes the minorities against the Kashmiri-speaking ethnic Sunnis and protects the non-state actors who violate the human rights of the minorities to further their seditionist and patently communal agendas so that the state is brought under Nizam-e-Mustafa that has no place whatsoever for the “non-believers” or “Kafirs” in its scheme of things. These minorities migrated from Kashmir to escape their persecution and physical liquidation, protect their religion and culture and lead a dignified life outside the Valley.
Similarly, the grant of full citizenship rights to numerous Uyghur Muslim families and their settlement in the Jamia Masjid area of Srinagar in 1952 during the regime of Sheikh Abdullah and grant of similar rights in 1959 and settlement of several Tibetan Muslims in the same area during the rule of Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad and denial of citizenship rights to the refugees from West Pakistan settled in Jammu province also need to be viewed in the same context. Uyghur Muslims from Xinjiang province and Tibetan Muslims had migrated to Kashmir to escape the wrath of Communist China and Hindus, mostly Dalits, had migrated from West Pakistan, including towns like Sialkot, to Jammu to escape their persecution and physical liquidation at the hands of the ardent believers in the concept of two-nation under which Muslim Pakistan came into being in August 1947. (Pakistan consists of parts of British Indian provinces where there was no demand for Pakistan. Nehru and Gandhi rejected outright the same counsel of Dr BR Ambedkar that if Pakistan was to be created out of India, then there had to be exchange of population to the maximum extent. If the Hindu-Muslim problem was to end permanently, then there had to be exchange of population, he had said.)
Likewise, the gross neglect and deprivation of Jammu province and Ladakh region and the widespread discontent and dissatisfaction among the people of these two regions have also to be viewed in this context. They are not considered citizens in the real sense of the term. They are considered as subjects whose only duty is to pay all kinds of taxes and suffer at the hands of those who control the system. It’s no wonder the people in these politically marginalised and economically deprived regions are putting forth demands ranging from statehood to regional council to Union Territory status for their regions, saying reorganisation of the state polity on a regional basis is the only panacea available to end their over 65-year-long night of discontent and despair.
It is important to recognise ten important facts in order to understand the fundamental reasons which are responsible for the prevailing horrible human rights situation in the state. One, the state policy has been ignoring the impact of genocide and destabilisation unleashed by non-state actors against the civilians. Two, institutions are not in place to gather information against violations committed by non-state actors. Three, the state institutions are not sensitised or structured to take suo-motto notice of human rights violations by non-state actors. Four, the state institutions are not structured to educate people about the dangers to the human and civil rights by the violence perpetrated by non-state actors. Five, the state institutions are not ready to defend the integrity of democratic system which is reeling under the impact of violence perpetrated by non-state actors. Six, the state institutions are not even rudimentarily equipped to deal with the propaganda unleashed by violent regimes against the democratic order and the nation. Seven, the state institutions only recognise the over ground workers of secessionist enterprises in India as human and civil rights activists.
Eight, there is absence of encouragement to human rights NGOs and bodies who do not have a political agenda. The entire Left support to the human rights violations has been recognised as the legitimate human and civil rights activity. Almost all the human rights organisations, including the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), are under the baneful influence of the Left, which considers India a congregation of over two dozen nations, with each nation having the right to secede. Nine, India is the worst sufferers of terrorism, but, unlike the United States, the United Kingdom and so on, it has no anti-terror law. The Congress-led UPA even abolished POTA to pander to communalists and strengthen and expand its communal constituency. Not to have any anti-terror law is, in fact, an integral component of the Congress’s state policy. Ten, paradoxically, even the Indian foreign policy vis-à-vis Pakistan emboldens the non-state actors to perpetrate barbarities on the minorities with immunity and go scot-free.
All in all, it can be said that things would improve in Jammu & Kashmir only if all the provisions of the Constitution of India, barring the atrocious Article 370, are enforced in the state in letter and spirit.
(The writer is former Dean of Social Sciences, University of Jammu)
Government at war with the minorities
Human rights, we are told, are rights inherent to all human beings, irrespective of their nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. These rights, it is accepted, are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible. December 10 is observed as the World Human Rights Day to remind people and governments of their responsibility in this regard. But these principles do not apply to the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
‘Secular’ apologists in India have often accused the exiled community of Kashmiri Hindus of remaining freezed in time because of their repeated reference to the events of 1989-90 that led to the forced extirpation of near total community from the land of their origin.
Let us not speak about the Hindu minority of the valley that formed nearly 15 % of the total population of Kashmir in 1940’s being reduced to few thousand souls at present. Let us also not talk about the selective targeted killing and inability of the government, deliberate or otherwise, to prevent these killings and punish even a single person for these killings till date.
Forget for the moment the gross political mismanagement, unprecedented corruption and loot of public exchequer by the emerging neo-elite of Kashmir valley, which in order to protect its position of privilege collaborated and cooperated with Islamic fundamentalists in diverting the growing public anger towards, Hindu minority and India as a whole by branding the hapless Hindus as Indian spies and in a subtle way identifying the community as an unwanted symbol of India’s nationalist presence in Kashmir and hence objects of hate.
State government and its representatives including the so-called civil society have been defending their inability to stop what the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in a ruling on June 11, 1999 observed that “against the stern definition of the Genocide Convention, the Commission is constrained to observe that….. Acts akin to genocide have occurred with respect to Kashmiri Hindus and that, indeed, in the minds and utterances of some of the militants a genocide-type design may exist.” They continue to be in denial mode blaming terrorism abetted and sponsored from across the border for forced mass exodus.
Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs in its 137th report on Rehabilitation of J&K Migrants expresses, “it’s serious concern about the criminal intent of vested interests to alter the demography in the State of J&K by not only forcibly ousting the minorities out of the State but also by changing the property rights in the revenue records, so that the migrants are left with no stake to return back to the valley.”
So let us focus on the area where government and not terrorists were/are in charge and control and hence responsible for action or lack of it. First and foremost is the issue of Return & Rehabilitation of the exiles back to valley.
The Government has taken no action in terms of providing viable proposals of resettlement and rehabilitation and is just giving a vague option of financial incentive which is inadequate and impractical. They come out with proposals which don’t address the physical security and socio-economic concerns of the community.
While in case of 14000 illegal encroachers of Dal lake (all Muslims) the state government with liberal funding is taking speedy action, in case of displaced community they are ready with a number of excuses for inaction. That the government needs to roll out a policy which can take care of rehabilitation of the entire community, which consists of more than 70,000 families doesn’t find any takers within the government.
The Hindu community has left behind huge properties individual as well as collective which is under illegal acquisition and encroachments is another issue of vital importance:
Apart from the government, illegal encroachment was and is done by organised groups, land mafia and private individuals. The community members have repeatedly given specific examples where proper procedure was not followed even by the government and notices were not served to the owners who are in exile before acquisition of their property. Yet the land was acquired and very meagre compensation deposited in banks.
Again specific examples showing that the victims have taken all available legal routes to clear that illegal encroachment the administration has not been able or is unwilling to clear the same. Court orders, revenue records and FIRs including the Chief Ministers on-line Grievance Cell have failed to do any justice in case of the displaced people.
Temple & Shrines Protection Bill is another issue of sparkling importance. The Bill is lying with state legislature since 2007 all political parties, regional as well as national; do publically support the need to have such a legal mechanism in place for protection of temples and shrines in Kashmir. Yet the government is unable and unwilling to ensure its passage. Instead new ways are being found every now and then to delay it permanently. It is being introduced in last year of the term of legislative Assembly and a political drama is enacted to demonstrate that action is being taken. Meanwhile term of the Assembly comes to an end and the Bill lapses. And the encroachers and land mafia have a field day to continue their nefarious design.
Employment and Self-Employment
An Inter-ministerial team under Ms Sushma Choudary constituted by PM had recommended 1000 jobs for the displaced youth. Under PMs Special package 15000 more jobs were promised. Yet only 1446 people have been given employment that too under discriminatory and inhuman employment conditions. As per our estimates displaced Hindu community has got only 300 jobs out of 2,65,000 youth employed since 1990 after militancy under regular employment other than PM package.
Same is the case with every other aspect concerning the displaced community. Instead of providing any relief the government is busy in cleansing the pre-Islamic Hindu civilisational marks of Kashmir.
Similarly there are issues related to procurement of documents like PRC, Passport, EPICs. It is very difficult for displaced community particularly those living outside J&K after exodus to get the same. Repeated assurances to have a mechanism in place at least in Resident Commissioner’s office in New Delhi have remained unfulfilled.
Government of the state is busy in misinformation campaign claiming the Hindus had taken all the jobs and hence the anger against them. Its own record, however, shows that 11376 employees of state government including PSUs and 6500 employees of central government from the displaced community left valley in 1990. And most of them have retired already and remaining will retire by 2016-17.
Government has been unable to protect the life and property of this minuscule minority community. It took no visible steps to stop the displacement instead tried to hide the fact. After reluctantly accepting the fact of forced displacement government was and continues to be slow and grossly inadequate in its response to address issues related to the community.
Their participation in decision making and execution process has been systematically eroded and no mechanism is being put in place to ensure their involvement in the governance. Official institutions are misused to deny the community their share in government spending and also with a long term vision of erasing their claim on the land of their origin. On the other side benefits are extended to the majority community unconstitutionally and illegally.
Union Government is equally responsible for the gloomy condition of the displaced people from the state. Despite this ground reality, the Government of India has, so far, refused to declare the Hindus of Kashmir as IDPs and take appropriate action to punish the guilty. It is a matter of regret that neither the Government of India nor the state government is invoking Principle 28 of the Guiding Principles, which in Section V relating to ‘Return, Resettlement and Reintegration of the IDPs’ states:
1. Competent authorities have the primary duty and responsibility to establish conditions, as well s provide the means, which allow internally displaced persons to return voluntarily, in safety and with dignity, to their homes or places of habitual residence, or to resettle voluntarily in another part of the country. Such authorities shall endeavour to facilitate the reintegration of returned or resettled internally displaced persons.
2. Special efforts should be made to ensure the full participation of internally displaced persons in the planning and management of their return or resettlement and reintegration.
Natural Justice demands that: 1. The Union Government constitutes a Commission of Inquiry with the following clear terms of reference:
(a) Probe into the causes of the rise of extremist religion-based armed insurgency in Kashmir in 1990
(b) Probe into the causes and events of selective killings of HIndus followed by their ethnic cleansing in 1989-90. The report of the inquiry into 1986 Anantnag attacks on HIndus is made public.
Constituting this commission is essential for preventing recurrence of communal pogroms in future and also for strengthening secular democracy of India. It will pave the way for the return of the IDPs.
2. The affected people are immediately declared Internally Displaced Persons, in accordance with the definition of the UN or its subsidiaries/commissions/ working groups etc.
3. Subject to the inception of an Inquiry Commission, the State government constitutes a Rehabilitation Committee with representatives of the community, experts and government as its members
(The writer is president of Jammu-Kashmir Vichar Manch, NCR chapter)
Terrorists compensated but not the terror victims
Over last several years entire public discourse about the state of Jammu Kashmir has become fixated on the Kashmir valley, thanks to the unique propaganda machinery working overtime to achieve this objective. And this has happened despite the fact that Jammu region has a much greater geographical area with a relatively larger population than that in Kashmir valley.
Net result of this nefarious obsession of the country’s five star activists with Kashmir Valley has been that even genuine concerns of Jammu region are
now comfortably ignored. This doublespeak of “opinion-makers” and “elite-secularists” (read rabble rousers) becomes clearly evident when it comes to terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir.
Terrorism has no respect for geographical boundaries nor does it respect religion yet the terror victims of Jammu region get a raw deal as compared
to those in the Kashmir valley. In fact, a great number of five-star activists busy themselves in spreading falsehoods about the nefarious terrorist activities across Rajouri, Poonch, Ramban, Doda, Kishtwar, Gandoh
and Bhadarwah districts of the Jammu region.
Justice (retd.) VS Kokje led team conducted a study on terrorism across Jammu region. The report “Ordeal of Jammu Migrants—from frying pan to fire” is a first of its kind that recorded the first-hand account of terror affected victims across the Jammu region and analysed the government’s response on the issue. The findings are startling, to say the least.
Reading through the accounts of terror victims, in this report, it becomes clear that both Hindus and Muslims have been victims of this violence and
anybody who refused to submit to the designs of separatist forces has been subjected to this violence.
Consider this: Twelve year old Rubina was abducted from her home at Rajouri in 2005 by eight terrorists—five of which were Pakistani. Rubina was repeatedly raped by these terrorists for over a month before she managed to run away and return to her home. Her family migrated to Jammu and is still
awaiting any kind of relief from the government.
In the Poonch district, around 200 families lived in the villages of Khanetar, Dalhera, Banchh but due to repeated terrorist attacks and selective assaults on the houses and shops of Hindus close to 150 families have now migrated out to other regions of Jammu. The state administration is yet to provide any security to the remaining Hindu families such that they too do not migrate from these border villages.
In fact, Justice Kokje’s report lists several such cases and incidents wherein the entire government machinery appears to be a mute spectator despite clinching evidence of terrorist activities.
“It is true that those who are affected should be adequately compensated and rehabilitated. But it is also important to see that large scale migration from the region is not encouraged and rehabilitation has to be ensured at the normal place of the victim and not at a far away place. If we do not restore the status-quo-ante and provide the victim a new place to live in and a new occupation to adopt, we are in a way fulfilling the desire of the terrorists to flush out the area of non-Muslims to achieve or retain Muslim majority in the area,” explained Justice Kokje’s report.
So the set of problems and their complexity suggest that the solutions are not going to be easier if we expect our “elite-five-star-activists” to solve them. Instead, a resolute attempt has to be made by the nationalist forces that would help create awareness about Jammu region across the country and shape public opinion. Here’s a list of five set of measures that can be implemented at the earliest.
First, whenever there are talks about “Kashmir”, remind those moulding the discussion that it is the state of “Jammu Kashmir” rather than only the Kashmir valley. The Kashmir valley is one of the regions of Jammu Kashmir as is Jammu, and this is a historical and geographical fact.
Second, the terror victims of Jammu need our help and not blank sympathies. These brave people live in the villages bordering Pakistan and have been holding their forte despite Pakistan-promoted terrorist activities and intermittent shelling of mortars that destroys their source of livelihood. A strong public opinion must be built across the country such that government takes active initiatives to develop robust employment opportunities across the Jammu region and in these border villages such that there is no exodus from the area. Efforts should also be made to facilitate the safe return of all those who had migrated from these border villages.
Third, there is an urgent need to clearly spell out the definition of “migrant” and “displaced” persons. Many hapless individuals who were forced to migrate to a safer location due to violent terrorist activities remain in the lurch without any help from the government. Compensation at flat rates or symbolic gestures aimed at scoring political brownie points does not allay the fears of either the migrant or displaced individuals and a clear cut policy should be provided by the government such that need-based adequate compensation should be provided.
Justice Kokje in his report has also mentioned that the aim and objective of all rehabilitation work must be to put back and reinstate the victim or the displaced person in the same position and at the same place where he was before being disturbed by the terrorist activity. “To provide lucrative relief at a place far away from the normal abode of the victim would be
counter-productive because that will lead to a large scale exodus of non-Muslims from the border areas again fulfilling the aim of terrorists to flush out non-Muslims from the area.”
Fourth, Village Defence Committees (VDC) and Special Police Officers therein should be equipped and further strengthened rather than emasculating them. Further, family members of Special Police Officers and other villagers who sacrificed their lives fighting with the terrorists should be provided monetary compensation and martyrs should be felicitated. This will encourage the nationalist forces and more and more people will fight with the terrorists.
West Pak refugees: 66 years in exile
Virender Singh Chauhan
Jammu region in the state of Jammu & Kashmir has off late earned the distinction of being called as Refugee Capital of Asia. According to unofficial data collected by various social organisations working for and among these people, the migrant population residing in the area is over 17 lakh. These fall into five broad categories. Although all categories of the migrants living in Jammu have their own stories of unbearable pains inflicted upon them, the worst affected among them are those who migrated from West Pakistan at the time of unfortunate Partition of India in 1947.
With creation of Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Dominion of Pakistan) by way of Partition of Bharat, lakhs of people both Muslims and non-Muslims were compelled to cross the newly drawn international borders and re-settle in India or Pakistan as the case may be. They were popularly known as ‘refugees’ on both the sides and were rehabilitated by the two governments.
Those who came to the Indian side from the new-born Pakistan got agricultural lands and houses to live from the properties left behind by the people who went to Pakistan. These migrants and their descendents are now equal and proud citizens of India. They enjoy all rights that are available to any other Indian citizen under the Constitution of the Republic.
Although most of those who passed through the tragic event of Partition had to witness a phase of turmoil and extreme pain in the process of migration and resettlement, the Government of India took care of their proper rehabilitation in various parts of the country (except in J&K). That they were not at all discriminated against on the basis of their place of origin is evident from the fact that many of them rose to the highest offices in India. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and former Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishan Advani come from the same section of society in Independent India.
But a poor section of Indians who were forced to decamp from their homes in today’s Pakistan in 1947 was not so lucky. Now known as West Pak Refugees, this section of Hindus came from Sialkot, Gujranwala and Rawalpindi districts of the erstwhile Punjab. These people chose to migrate to the state of Jammu & Kashmir in 1947. This decision was most probably based on their geographical and cultural proximity to Jammu. These migrants, being members of the poor and illiterate sections of society could not foresee the ill- consequences of this decision. For them Jammu & Kashmir was also India. They were literally unaware of the concept of state-subjects as prevalent in Jammu & Kashmir. For them it was not possible to make a distinction between migration to Indian state of Punjab and Jammu Kashmir. Unfortunately, their choice of Jammu & Kashmir as new homeland led to an unending trail of complications and hardships.
Even after the passage of 65 years in their new homeland, the people who migrated from West Pakistan to Jammu & Kashmir continue to live as unwelcome entrants into the state. The laws of Jammu & Kashmir do not recognise them and their descendents as ‘state subjects’ or permanent residents of the state till date The West-Pak Refugees cannot buy and own properties in the state. The eligible voters among them figure in the voter list for Lok Sabha but for the state of Jammu & Kashmir they are not voters. They cannot vote or contest Panchayat and Vidhan Sabha elections. Their children cannot get admissions in the professional colleges. And when it comes to government jobs, the youth from this community are not entitled to get jobs in the state government departments. Over 75 per cent of these refugees belong to the Scheduled Castes but the benefits due to them as members of these castes are not available to them.
This story of denial and inhuman treatment meted out to these sons and daughters of Bharat Mata would not end here. While the Pakistani refugees who went to other parts of the country in 1947 were allotted properties left behind by the Muslims in their respective states, the West Pakistani Refugees living in Jammu & Kashmir are yet to get anything in lieu of their houses and other properties left behind in Pakistan. The state government allotted houses of those who migrated to Pakistan from J&K to these families but they are yet to be made owners of these houses. Till date they are treated as tenants and deposit rent to the custodian department of the state for these dwellings. The most painful part of this violation of basic human rights is that the state which is yet to recognise these Hindu families (who chose to be Indians in 1947) as state subjects has kept the ownership rights of the Pakistani Muslims (who left J&K for Pakistan in 1947) intact in a false hope of their coming back to the state. A careful analysis of reasons of their sad plight leads to a simple conclusion that these poor people have been made to suffer due to the communal and anti-Hindu mindset of the successive rulers of Jammu and Kashmir after the state’s accession to India. The hight of insensitivity of the sectarian rulers towards these citizens is also evident from the fact that no initiative for proper enumeration of the West-Pak refugees was ever attempted in the state during past six and a half decades. In the year 1981, the Government of Jammu & Kashmir distributed application forms to thousands of West Pakistani Refugees for Permanent Resident status. However, no further action was taken. On 31.8.2001, the then Union Home Minister Shri L.K. Advani and on 8.1.2005 the then Home Minister Shri Shivraj Patil wrote a letter to the Government of Jammu & Kashmir, wherein both made an appeal to adopt measures for conferring a status of dignity and equality to the West Pakistani Refugees. But, the Government of Jammu & Kashmir did not pay any heed to the said appeal. The Government of India by an order dated 09.05.2007 constituted a committee under the Chairmanship of Shri G.D. Wadhwa, IAS Financial Commissioner (Revenue) to look into the demands and problems of West Pakistani Refugees. It has almost seven years no action has been taken on the recommendations of Wadhwa Committee
This section of the Indian citizens living in Jammu & Kashmir has been the most neglected lot among the sufferers at the hands of communal Islamist forces and their well designed strategy to weakening the nationalist forces in Jammu and Kashmir. While the legislature and judiciary of Jammu & Kashmir have grossly failed to take note of the issues of this section of society in the state, those at the helm of affairs in Delhi would have to own their part of the blame in the dirty communal politics of Jammu & Kashmir. Had Delhi been alive to the suffering of these predominantly downtrodden citizens, things might have improved? Similarly the national media cannot escape its responsibility. Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India and the refugees from West Pak are also Indian citizen. National media that has developed a habit of responding hysterically to the sufferings of some individuals on human rights front can also be blamed for the criminal neglect of the sufferings of a community as a whole.
(The writer is a senior columnist and associate Professor and Head of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, CDLU)
Forced migration from POJK
Displaced but not rehabilitated
Amongst the 17 lakh refugees residing in the Jammu region of Jammu & Kashmir, 10 lakh refugees belong to the region which is illegally occupied by Pakistan. This article gives you an overview about the present conditions of the refugees, the indifferent behavior of the government and the poor administration which compelled the three generations of the refugees to live without being unabled to basic human rights.
History of POJK
On October 22, 1947, the first war between India and Pakistan started when the Kabalis attacked the people and lands of Bhimber, Kotli, Deva, Batala, Gilgit , Baltistan, Mirpur, Poonch and Rajouri , all very important regions of our own Jammu & Kashmir. During this time, the forces of Maharaja Hari Singh were too weak both in men and resources to stand against the invaders aided by the Pakistan army. Hence, the provision of important items like food grains, arms, ammunitions, kerosene, petrol and other necessary items were stopped. People of Mirpur were last to leave their land on November 25, 1947 after all their hopes of help from Indian Government were put down.
Emergence of POJK – Illegal occupation of Pakistan
The entire part of Jammu and Kashmir but invaded and devastated by Pakistan raiders is used for illegal occupation by Pakistanis. The area is known as ‘Pakistan Occupied Jammu Kashmir (POJK)’. POJK areas cover Mirpur, Kotli, Devabatala, Bhimbar, Muzaffarabad, Gilgit of Jammu & Kashmir State. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the then Prime Minister named them as ‘Displaced Persons’ who came from Pakistan Occupied Areas of J&K ( POJK DPs) under vide order No. 1476-C of 1950 dated 16.12.1950 issued with his own signatures.
The Plight of DPs
It was clear that Pakistan wanted to capture Jammu & Kashmir in 1947. Apart from these attacks they had one more plan – that was to drive out the Hindus and Sikhs from the entire region. They were even successful in this. Sources say that around 10,000 Hindus and Sikhs were killed in one single night. Almost 48 thousand people got killed of this area in total. Owing to the atmosphere of terror that was prevalent in the region, large number of people moved towards Jammu to seek asylum. For many days these people spent days and nights under open sky without any shelter. It was after sometime, that the Government of India settled them in camps. The DPs from the invaded region was under the impression that this was temporary and they would go back to their homes once the invaders had been ejected from the occupied areas. But it has been a non-ending wait for them for last 66 years. Even after 65 years the victims of the first Pakistani attack neither got their land back nor were rehabilitated to live a descent life. These displaced persons from area of Jammu and Kashmir as occupied by Pakistan have been the victim of negligence by the government machineries.
Government’s action and reaction
The biggest issue with the POJK refugees is that the government does not consider them as refugees at all. They have been given status of “Displaced Persons” and hence are not eligible to get the benefits as given to any other refugee. The Indian parliament passed a resolution on February 22, 1994 which said that the state of Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India and that Pakistan has to vacate all the areas which it has occupied illegally. But the government failed to do so and showed its constant insensitivity towards settling the issue.
The insensitivity of the government was further shown when the government sighted the following reasons for not registering these families.
p The families who sought asylum at the homes of their relatives after moving from POJK, but did not stay in the refugee camps are not eligible for rehabilitation, hence not registered.
p Those families who did not have a head, which means if the head of the family was killed or was lost or if he chose not to travel with the family, such families were not registered and hence no help was given by the government.
p Those families whose monthly income was more than Rs 300 while they were in the POJK region, such families cannot get any support from the government.
p Those families who did not travel during that turbulent period i.e. between September 1947 and December 1950, but travelled later were also not registered.
An interesting fact is that the State Assembly has a total of 111 seat but the elections are conducted for 87 seats only. The remaining 24 Jammu Kashmir Vidhan Sabha seats are reserved for the area under the illegal occupation of Pakistan today. There has been a constant demand that one seat in the Parliament and 8 seats Assembly are kept reserved for the displaced persons from POJK. But the government did not show any interest. Many experts also believe that it will strengthen Bharat position diplomatically.
Burning issues of the DPs
Official enumeration or registration of these DPs has not been done even after 66 years of painful journey. DPs, have not got adequate compensation till date for their homes, land and properties which are under the occupation of Pakistan today. Monetary support of Rs 3600 was granted by the Central Government the State Government cut Rs 2250 as rent for the camps given to them. Further, The State Government charges a rent for whatever little land it has given for cultivation.” These DPs are also angry because of the fact that the government not only did not provide them any compensation for their homes and lands which was occupied by Pakistan but on the other hand it installed custodians to look after the properties of those Muslims who left for Pakistan. Most of the displaced persons during 1947, had their savings in the Mirpur branch of J&K bank. The bank rejected their request to give their money back which was deposited in their bank. The State Government also remained quiet and did not show any interest to retrieve the money from the J&K bank in Mirpur which is under Pakistan occupation, although knowing the fact that the main head office was situated in Srinagar. DPs who has been staying outside the state has been denied State Subject Right. They are kept away from all the dialogue or decision making process about Jammu & Kashmir. All the round-table conferences that have happened over Jammu-Kashmir, everyone from the separatists to the Gurdwara Prabhandak committee have been included but not one from the POJK refugees has been extended the invitation till date. Apart from this the State Government constituted five working groups for the development of the state but even here the POJK refugees were not given any representation.
Demands of the DPS
1. Immediate registration for all the displaced persons from POJK. GoI must issue an advertisement inviting applications from all the DP families, without any conditions, giving details of their properties, buildings/land left back in POJK.
2. One time compensation i.e 50 Lakh must be given to DPs.
3. Implementation of recommendation made by Wadhwa Committee.
4. Availability of the State Subject Certificate/PRC for the POJK DPS by applying to the Divisional Commissioner of Jammu for DPs staying outside the State.
5. Compensations for the POJK DP families with additional premiums needs to be provided. The token ex-gratia (Rs 3500) paid to some POJK DPs on the basis of 1947/1960 norms should be written off because it was so insignificant.
6. Special committee can be constituted to assess and quantify the losses.
7. The rehabilitation should be made based on the ‘The Displaced Persons Compensation and Rehabilitation Act, 1954’, based on which permanent rehabilitation of people who came from Western Punjab and East Bengal was done.
8. Special concessions be given to DP families in education, employment and trade finance.
9. In case GoI is still hopeful for return of POJK DPs to Mir/Muzaffarabad/Kotli/Bhimber/Deva/Poonch/Gilgit etc and restoration of their properties, even then they need to be compensated for the loss suffered by them due to delay in restoration of their properties by GoI. In that case the Agricultural lands allotted should be completed in size as was first determined by the Joint Rehabilitation Board headed by Major General Tara Singh Bal having on it members from State Government Authorities i.e land measuring 12 acres Abi/18 acres Khushkee.
10. J&K Legislature could examine and consider withdrawing some seats out of 24 seats kept for POJK and allowing the POJK DPs to contest for those seats
11. An amendment to Section -48 of the Constitution of J&K should be considered by the Legislative Assembly for this purpose.
Peace loving India with 1000 years of bloodiest history
It is a matter of great surprise that Hindu, a firm believer in the universal brotherhood of man, equal respect for all religions, and non-violence, is condemned on every occasion by the media as a militant fascist. According to great historian, Will Durant, peace-loving India has had the world’s bloodiest history during the past one thousand years. The Hindu community was made a constant target of attack and atrocities. During the past one thousand years, no other community in the world was made to suffer so much as Hindus.
Even after Independence, Hindus are under attack in various countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Fiji, South Africa and so on. They are being deprived of their religious, democratic and human rights. Their wealth is being looted, their women dishonoured and they are being reduced to the status of refugees. There is genocide of Hindus in history at regular intervals. It is a wounded society despite some of its members being very affluent, powerful and progressive.
At the time of Partition, Hindus in Pakistan were massacred and converted as a result of which their population in that country which was initially 1.25 crore, has now been reduced to 10 lakh. Bangladesh had three crore Hindus, of which only one crore exist, while, in Kashmir, there are no Hindus left. On the other hand, the population of Muslims in India, initially three crore, has swollen to 11 crore. But no secularist, socialist, Gadhian and humanist leader or writer has uttered a word against atrocities on Hindus.
90 crore Hindus are one-sixth of the world population. By treating their problems as communal instead of a humanitarian one, western minded intellectuals and secularists and secular leaders are betraying the human society.
The French author Francoise in his article (Blitz 10/04/93) says that, “When after centuries of having been at the receiving end, a handful of Hindus dared to destroy a mosque, however mistaken this gesture was, they were treated ruthlessly. Yet the Hindu fundamentalists did not kill a single soul.”
Injustice to Hindus: Hindus were showered with bullets when they demanded one Ram Janambhoomi, which is most sacred to them. In the name of secularism, conversion of Hindus and cow-slaughter are allowed to continue.
In secular countries like the USA, Britain and France, the religion of the majority is the national religion, but in India, Gita and Ramayana are not allowed to be taught in schools to Hindu youths making them rootless and immoral while the Quaran and the Bible can be taught.
Three and a half crore Muslims have been allowed entry into India from Bangladesh to build up a Muslim vote bank. These people are depriving Indians of their daily bread and also causing riots. Is such injustice done to the majority in any country of the world?
Hindus had hoped that after Independence they would enjoy freedom in India, which was their only country, and would be able to resurrect their life giving culture and mode of life that had been destroyed during the past one thousand years. The leaders of the whole world are vigilant about protecting their society, religion, culture and country, but in the name of secularism it is considered communal to help Hindus in India. Charities to Hindu are not exempted from income tax, as a result of which Hindu organisations cannot collect massive funds to help poor Hindus.
Hindu tolerance: Hindus have always helped to prosper other religions who took refuge in India, but these same people are betraying the Hindu society. In the course of history thousands of Hindu temples were destroyed, but Hindu kings following the Sarvadharma Samabhava, built mosques and churches. Even after Independence, the generous Hindus parted with a lot of prestigious posts to be given to Muslims like that, of President, Governor, Chief Minister and gave them special rights which even the Hindus do not enjoy.
Why Hindus alone: Secular leaders like Mulayam Singh, Mayawati and Congress leaders keep preaching to the Hindus only that tolerance is basic of their religion so they should silently suffer the injustice and atrocities heaped upon them. Nobody preaches this to Muslims.
After Independence, there have been 2, 500 riots. The more Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and secularist leaders extended a hand of friendship towards Pakistan, there are more riots in the country and the more powerful the terrorist and secessionist forces have become. If Hindus appear a little staunch and rigid today, it is reaction to all this and is motivated by self- preservation. Muslims are given immense funds and high positions, and in return they presented the secularist leaders with a vote-bank made up of poverty-ridden, illiterate, criminalised and pro-Pakistani Muslim masses. These secularist leaders do not want the Muslims to hand over the Ram Janambhomi to be Hindus and thus bring about permanent Hindu-Muslim friendship. It is these leaders who are the root cause of communalism in the country.
Muslims have 52 countries and Christians have 80, but India is the only country left for Hindus. Still our secularist leaders and the media are conspiring to make even this one remaining country a dharmasala for all. This is against international and natural justice.
Well-known American scholar of Indian politics, Mr Embree, in his speech at Amnesty International, said: “Hinduism, which 70 per cent of Indians follow, is deeply rooted in the geography of India and is the very basis of its human rights. Hinduism is the mother of all religions hence it tries to create good will among all religions instead of hatred.”
Hindus have suffered from self-effacement, and due to a thousand years of slavery they have lost courage even to call India their own country. But the times are changing and Hindus are realising that they have full right to live with self-respect and dignity in their only home land. Cowardice created by 700 years of slavery is slowly vanishing and a strong democratic India is in the offing where Hindus and Muslims will live peacefully because merchants of hate working with ‘divide and rule’ policy will be sent to oblivion. n
MsDP: A deep-rooted conspiracy in Arunachal Pradesh
Recently, the Government of Arunachal Pradesh has brought from Delhi a discriminatory and biased scheme – MsDP: Multi-sectoral Development Plan, exclusively for Christians and Muslims. Since there is no Muslim population in the districts identified as minority districts, this scheme will be applicable exclusively for newly converted Christians leaving behind the son of the soil Hindus in Arunachal Pradesh practising their eternal religion and eternal culture from the time immemorial.
Thus, MsDP is a Government allurement for Christian conversion and a reward for Christian missionaries for weaning away a section of people from the lap of Bharat Mata and turning them disloyal to mother and motherland.
This is a sere misuse and misappropriation of Hindu tax-payers money for subversive and divisive deed. Neither Prime Minister nor the Chief Ministers have any authority to incur any useless expenditure from Consolidated Fund of Bharat. It is a serious crime. But the Central Government under Sonia control and Arunachal Government under NabamTuki, both renowned fanatic Catholic Christian, appear to be ever ready to go any length, right or wrong, for the cause of the Church which they consider it as a sacred service to their Christian God.
From the day one NabamTuki ascended on the throne of Chief Minister appear to be acting as undeclared Bishop of Arunachal Pradesh. The network of the Church is spreading fast in whole of the state under Chief Minister’s protection and promotion. The Chief Minister does not have any fear or any qualms.
A Chief Minister in power will be able to cause more damage than an ordinary individual because he has a great clout and greater power which may end up against the interest of majority community—the Hindus. In a secular country like Bharat if heads of the State start acting as a religious bigots, the secular fabric of the country will suffer a serious setback and the society will definitely and seriously be polarised which will damage peace and communal harmony. Since Courts are in reality protecting and promoting the interests of all the people of the country, such serious misuse of power by people in authority must be legally curtailed.
See the unbecoming and unconstitutional behaviour of UP Chief Minister – AkhileshYadav. The apex court has set him right. The Supreme Court on November 21 censored his government for favouring the Muslim community in relief and rehabilitation following the Muzaffarnagar riots in August and forced it to withdraw the ‘biased’ notification. Appearing for a section of Hindu community in riot-hit UP district Advocate ML Sharma drew the court’s attention to a UP government notification promising Rs 5 lakh to relocate Muslim families living in relief camps who have refused to return to their villages.
Government advocate Rajiv Dhawan instantly gave the undertaking to the court that the state would withdraw the faulty notification and issue it afresh as soon as possible extending the relocation grant of rupees 5 lakh to riot victims without discrimination.
The people of Arunachal Pradesh especially awakened section of the society are required to give cognizance to this pioneering judgement of Supreme Court and challenge the implementation of MsDP unless it is used for every citizen of the state. This will curb the conversion crusade spear headed by two missionary centres – one at Itanagar and the other at Miao sponsored by enemical foreign powers. Otherwise, the religious demography of the state is soon going to be changed and today’s Hindu Arunachal Pradesh will be transformed into “Arunachal for Christ” where no other religion except Christianity will be allowed to survive. The communal harmony wide spread in today’s Arunachal Pradesh will become a thing of past. Therefore, the MsDP must be challenged in the court.
India must ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate
Coming straight to the point, India cannot afford to be a passive spectator to the huge developments in Afghanistan. America and NATO forces are to leave Afghanistan by 2014. This has ignited the strong possibility of Taliban once again bouncing back with the help of Pakistani army. We all know very well how Taliban is a creation of the Pakistan army and ISI and how they are in cahoots with each other. Taliban capturing power with the help of Pakistan army and ISI won’t be a tough job as they did earlier in 1995-96. This is exactly what India has to prevent at any cost because Taliban wresting power in Afghanistan will enable Pakistan to use it as a launching pad for all its anti-India activities which we can afford to overlook only at the cost of our own peril.
It is no secret that with the exception of Taliban , India has enjoyed very good relations with all successive regimes. Even the present dispensation enjoys a very stable equilibrium with India . It is also no secret that President Karzai has repeatedly hailed India as a “great friend.” It is also no secret that India has invested billions of dollars in various schemes in Afghanistan and therefore it is in our own best interest to ensure that the present dispensation is not easily toppled in 2014 by ISI backed Taliban, once US and NATO allies leave Afghanistan.
Our ruling establishment must not be unduly complacent in ensuring that Pakistan is denied a client state in Afghanistan because if we allow this , we will only see much to our own chagrin how the latter becomes a hot breeding centre for all kinds of anti-India activities . We cannot once again allow Taliban to capture power as they did in 1995 and rule the roost because they are deadly against India and will obviously strike at us where it hurts the most . Indian policy makers have no option but to plan meticulously as to how to scuttle the chances of Taliban staging a huge comeback and carve for itself a well deserved strategic place to fob off all evil designs of Pakistan to use Taliban as the biggest pawn against India.
India is providing Afghanistan with an extensive developmental assistance programme which has reached the figure of US $ 2 billion. Thus, India is the fifth largest donor in Afghanistan, next only to US, UK, Japan and Germany. It is quite palpable that India has chosen to take upon itself the task of developing Afghanistan and has undertaken many initiatives in infrastructural projects, community based development projects and in education and other fields.
It is worth mentioning here that India’s trade with Afghanistan has gone up from $80 million in 2001 to $ 280 million in 2010. Further , in 2011-12, the total bilateral trade has gone up to US $ 639 million , i.e. 0.08 percent of India’s total trade in same year.
The awarding of the mining rights of the Hajigak iron ore, which is Afghanistan’s biggest iron ore deposit to a consortium of seven Indian companies for an investment of $6.6 billion is phenomenal and this is by far the largest single investment in Afghanistan by any country . Further , in January 2009 , Afghan President and Indian External Affairs Minister jointly inaugurated a 218 km rod project from Zaranj to Delarm in south-western Afghanistan with the basic purpose of facilitating the smooth movement of goods and services to the Iranian border and beyond to the Chahbahar Port. Apart from this , India has also built 202 km 220 KV DC transmission line from Pul-e-Khumri to Kabul and a 220/110/20KV sub-station at Chimtala which has brought Uzbek electricity and lightening right up to the heart of Kabul city . India is also involved in constructing two other major infrastructural projects of Salma Dam power project in Herat province and Afghan Parliament in Kabul.
I must also disclose here that India has also been supplying 100 grams of fortified high-protein biscuits to nearly two million school children in 33 of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan every day under a School Feeding Programme administered through the World Food Programme . Not stopping here , India lavishly gifted 250,000 metric tones of wheat to help Afghanistan to tide over its food crisis in 2009 .
India is also dishing out medicines and all other medical aid to over 30,000 Afghans every month through Indian Medical Missions. Also, Afghanistan and India have decided to join Turkmenistan and Pakistan in planning to build TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India ) gas pipeline which will tremendously boost the regional energy cooperation. It is estimated that the 1,680 km long TAPI pipeline would cost US $ 7.6 billion and this will certainly connect vast energy resources of Central Asia with the biggest energy markets of South Asia and in this all the players involved will benefit immensely. The participating countries in this highly ambitious project have signed the ‘gas sale purchase agreement’ for the pipeline on 23 May, 2012 and it is scheduled to start bringing natural gas from Turkmenistan to India by 2017.
However, it must be borne in mind that all this is of no consequence if India fails to provide security to Afghanistan against Pakistan backed Taliban. Pakistan is itching to once again install Taliban in power and rule Afghanistan with Taliban as its pet pup. It is India’s bounden duty to provide all type of military help to Afghanistan to help it counter any offensive attack on its soil.
Human Rights advocate Rabindra Ghosh assaulted by unruly advocates in court room in Bangladesh
A lawyer of innocent minority victims
Advocate Rabindra Ghosh, founder president of Bangladesh Minority Watch (BDMW) along with his associates, Badal Bairagi and Hari Nath Das, was on November 25 physically assaulted by some unruly advocates in Gopalganj court room. He had gone there to investigate a case recorded by one Sheikh Mamun Ahmed at Gopalganj Police Station within Gopalganj District implicating some innocent minority Hindus of Gopalganj on 14.10.2013.
As per statements made in the press conference on November 21 by Smt Suniti Rani Saha wife of Kalachand Saha, one Muslim man while he was trying to break Hindu deities during Durga puja and trying to assault Hindu women and children, some unidentified persons attacked Masudur Rahman Rubbet and subsequently he died. But brother of Masudur Rahman Rubbet most illegally and with intent to damage Hindu families lodged above case and rendered them homeless. Even in the court, lawyers are forbidden to appear on behalf of the Hindu victims for bail.
Police arrested most of the innocent Hindus in connection with the GR case and sent them to jail on October 14. Finding no other alternative Smt Suniti Saha wife of victim Kalachand Saha filed an appeal before Bangladesh Minority Watch for their legal assistance and help to procure bail of her husband and other innocents. Accordingly, advocate Rabindra Ghosh went to appear in the court of Mohammad Zahangir Hossain, senior Judicial Magistrate having power from the detainee at the same court at Gopalganj on November 25. While he was standing for bail and moved an application before the Senior Judicial Magistrate some unruly lawyers namely including advocate Enamul Hoque (W), Advocate Mostaque Hossain Sentu, Advocate Mohammd Esaful Kabir Emon, Advocate Moinul Hassan Mridha Sumon, Mohammad Hafizur Rahman, Advocate Pijush Kumar Chanda (mostly Advocates of powerful informant-Sheikh Mamun Ahmed-belong to Awami League) started attacking him physically, giving blow on his head and body, as a result he fell down on the ground. He was also dragged into the chamber of presiding judge Mohammad Zahingir Hossain who also witnessed the attack on him.
Police was called for his protection and they took him at police station. He accordingly made a general diary number 1095 dated 25.11.2013 before Officer-in-Charge-Gopalganj Police Station for taking necessary action against those perpetrators. On 15.11.2013 he also visited Gopalganj Police Station to ascertain the truthfulness of murder of Rubbet but powerful informant in presence of police threatened him saying “Do you know this is the home of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina? Please go out from this place.” He also made a general diary number -674 dated 15.11.2013 at Gopalganj Police station on this intimidation.
Thereafter, he called the law enforcing authorities –Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police, Gopalganj over phone. They also replied that the act of such attack within court room is unexpected. They also advised him to talk with the District and Sessions Judge and accordingly he met with the District Judge in the evening time at his chamber and handedover a copy of G.D. The District Judge informed him that, he cannot intervene in such situations.
Shri Ghosh also tried to communicate with Dr. Prof. Mizanur Rahman, Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission over phone, but his cell number was switched off. He also tried to communicate with the Inspector-General of Police over his cell but he did not respond. He also tried to call the present Home Minister – Shamsul Hoque Tuku who informed him saying “I am busy with my job I cannot take action.”